Last night, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu commented for the first time on the announcement by US Secretary of State John Kerry on Friday that peace talks between the two sides would restart, saying, "I see the renewal of the diplomatic process at this stage as a vital strategic interest of the State of Israel. The process is important in itself, as an attempt to bring to an end the dispute between us and the Palestinians; and it is important in view of the challenges facing us, chiefly from Iran and Syria."
Netanyahu defined the two main goals from his point of view: "Prevention of the formation of a bi-national state between the sea and the Jordan that would endanger the future of the Jewish state, and prevention of the creation of another terrorist state sponsored by Iran within the borders of Israel, which would be no less of a threat to us." Netanyahu thanked Kerry "who has invested great effort, bringing about the renewal of the process, and I expect the talks to be conducted in serious and responsible manner."
Meanwhile, AP reports that senior Palestinian sources told it last night that Palestinian Authority head Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) agreed to return to peace talks with Israel only after he received a written undertaking from the US that the basis of negotiations would be the 1967 border of Israel.
A senior Israeli source later denied the claim however. The Palestinian sources, who are close to Abbas and involved in the attempts to revive the peace process, said that the letter containing the undertaking also stated that Israel and the Palestinians should refrain from steps that might endanger the negotiations.
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on July 21, 2013
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